Who knew we needed so many print journalists in the first place?
Washington (AFP) – The US newspaper industry has shed more than half its jobs since 1990, losses which have only been partly offset by gains in online media.
Official US Labor Department data showed the newspaper sector lost 271,800 jobs in the period from January 1990 to March 2016, or 59.7 percent of the total over the past 26 years.
The numbers, first cited in a report by the news website Engadget, confirm the massive shift to digital media that has hammered traditional newspapers.
Magazines fared only slightly better, losing 36 percent of their jobs in the same period.
Employment in Internet publishing and broadcasting, meanwhile, rose from about 30,000 to nearly 198,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed.
So, the net loss seems to be about 73,000 jobs when broadcasting and internet are included.
I am far more concerned with net job losses in manufacturing.
What intrigues me, however, is that despite the job losses I now read the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Drudge Report nearly every day, the Straits Times (Singapore) occasionally, and I am awash with information.
I cannot even mention the large numbers of blogs I manage to delve into when I am not too busy.
I feel mildly sorry for the many journalists who have had to find another way of earning a living, but when I contemplate how much better I am most of the time than Geoffrey Simpson, Charles Krauthammer, or Andrew Coyne – I place myself well below Conrad Black and Rex Murphy – I have to wonder, what were all those print journalists doing? Did we really need them? Apparently not.